1) India, US in major nuclear, climate deal
The deal – which may allow India to expand it’s use of nuclear power – comes as the two leaders also made a personal agreement on climate change with the Indian Prime Minister, Nerendra Modi appearing to take a more pro-active stance than previously and officially setting a national Renewable energy target.
“For President Obama and me, clean and renewable energy is a personal and national priority,” Modi said at a press conference in New Delhi, as the country faces increasing concerns over air quality.
“We discussed our ambitious national efforts and goals to increase the use of clean and renewable energy.”
2) Obama in ‘personal’ climate push – calls for Alaska protection
The latest deal comes after President Obama used his State of the Union address to rile Republicans by stating “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”, he is also likely to ask the house to designate large swathes of Alaska as “wilderness”, a move which would stop oil and gas exploration in the region (and which is very unlikely to happen).
3) MPs call for fracking ban in shale gas news blizzard
An influential committee of MPs has called for a moratorium on fracking on the grounds that it could derail efforts to tackle climate change.
The government has called the claim “rubbish” whilst The Telegraph reports on claims the MPs listened to “ill informed green groups” whilst the Times reports that two of the UK’s biggest unions have urged Labour not to ban shale gas exploration.
The MP’s reports comes as Scotland’s two largest parties, Labour and the SNP, both committed to strong restrictions on drilling whilst UK fracking firm Cuadrilla has asked for decisions on it’s latest Lancashire planning applications to be deferred whilst it invests £5m in making fracking quieter – to meet planning concerns.
As if that lot wasn’t enough The Guardian reports that George Osborne George Osborne has requested that ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking as a “personal priority”, including the delivery of numerous “asks” from shale gas company Cuadrilla.
Columnist George Monbiot notes the same cannot be said for the rules on community energy which – he claims – have basically killed distributed community energy projects dead.
Fracking climate primer:. When MPs argue fracking is a problem from a climate point of view they mean new oil/gas exploration may be incompatible with the UK’s global efforts to keep most existing fossil fuels in the ground – as part of a global deal to limit global warming to 2 degrees (unless we roll out carbon capture) and/or that there are climate risks from methane leakage (though these are unproven).
When ministers argue it is not a problem they mean we need gas for heating (until around the 2030’s/40’s) and, if fracking is only allowed to get going fast enough it can meet that demand. Both are accurate claims. It depends if you think that – from a global perspective – the extraction of UK shale gas will mean other fossil fuels will stay in the ground as a result.
The whole thing is further complicated because the latest research suggests that, at an EU level, even if more than 80% of coal stays in the ground some existing gas reserves must also go unexploited to prevent catastrophic climate change.
You can read our recent analysis of Fracking and Climate change here.